Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., told President Donald Trump that he should send both the Paris Climate Accord and the Iran Nuclear Deal to the Senate for ratification as treaties, echoing an idea that the Wall Street Journal floated.
If Trump sent the so-called executive agreements — which now avoid the Constitutional ratification process — to the Senate where they would presumably fail, then that may block a prospective Joe Biden administration from unilaterally reentering them.
Cruz sent a letter to Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that called on the administration to honor Senate’s role as a check on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate and agree to treaties.
He said that “multiple previous administrations […] have undermined the Senate’s constitutional role” regarding treaties.
The Senate must ratify treaties by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members present.
“Most recently-and most egregiously-President Obama refused to submit either the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the ‘Iran Deal’), or the United Nations Paris Climate Agreement (the ‘Paris Agreement’) to the Senate as a treaty,” he wrote.
The Democrats did not have a two-thirds majority in the Senate, so Obama’s unpopular foreign policy decisions would not have moved forward.
Likewise today, the Republican-controlled Senate would almost certainly veto the treaties.
Cruz argued that these international agreements amounted to substantial alterations to American foreign policy.
“These agreements could and should have been submitted as treaties given their sweeping scope and immense implications for American foreign and domestic policy,” he wrote. “The Paris Agreement, for example, was lauded as the ‘most ambitious climate change agreement in history.’ The Iran Deal, meanwhile, was situated as ‘the most consequential foreign policy debate that our country has had since the invasion of Iraq.'”
If Biden tried to unilaterally join the Paris Climate Accord or the Iran Deal, the Republicans could take legal action.
That challenge would have more legitimacy in court and in public opinion if the Senate had the chance to vote on the treaties.
The courts may find it difficult to uphold Biden’s executive order if it violates the Senate’s will.
“Only by submitting them to the Senate will the Senate be able to satisfy its constitutional role to provide advice and consent in the event any future administration attempts to revive these dangerous deals,” Cruz wrote.